Students, staff members and others from Spring Wood Middle School in Hanover Park and throughout Keeneyville Elementary District 20 will come together Thursday night for a fundraiser aimed at purchasing a much-needed car for the family of a seventh-grader faced with serious medical challenges.
Nyhla Lee, a 12-year-old honor roll student at Spring Wood, was diagnosed with a blood disorder called idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, or ITP. After being airlifted to Advent Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, she suffered three strokes and endured 30 blood transfusions. She was in a coma for two weeks and, when she emerged, her doctors said she would be blind, deaf and paralyzed.
ITP normally does not affect people in that way, but her doctors said the disorder caused her to have a "brain bleed."
Since then, Nyhla has astonished her doctors and is aware of her surroundings. The family, including her two younger sisters, has been staying at a Ronald McDonald House, but next month Nyhla is expected to go home.
Medicaid will cover many of her medical costs, but the family has no vehicle to transport her to therapy or her doctor appointments. Her mother can no longer work because she must take care of her daughter full time.
To help the family acquire a car, the Spring Wood community is holding a "Wheel for Wheels" fundraiser from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, at the school, 5540 Arlington Drive East.
Participants will play "Wheel of Fortune" and watch an episode of the show that featured a Spring Wood teacher over the summer. There also will be raffles and a silent auction, with all proceeds and donations going directly to the Nyhla Lee Recovery Fund set up through TCF Bank, with the goal of purchasing a car for the family, said Eva-Lynn Neufeldt, one of the organizers.
In addition, donations are being accepted at a GiveForward website set up in Nyhla's name at giveforward.com/fundraiser/c2s2/Nyhla-recovery-fund.